In what will send shockwaves across the political divide, Uhuru Kenyatta is working on a plan that will see former ruling party, Kanu merge with Raila Odinga’s ODM to hammer the last nail on the ruling Jubilee Party casket.
Uhuru’s plan is to have Raila succeed him as president for one term and then have Kanu’s Gideon Moi president 2027.
Others in Uhuru 2022 game plan are cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Fred Matiang’i, governors Ann Waiguru, Hassan Joho and friendly governors backing IBB.
Indeed, keen political observers will have noticed that the president is killing the Jubilee Party which he and William Ruto launched with much fanfare at Kasarani in September 2012 following the merger of 13 parties.
Uhuru, those close to him revealed, is now of the view Jubilee Party has served its purpose of securing him a second term in office and it is time it was dismantled to scuttle Ruto’s presidential ambitions.
The plan to revamp Kanu was the subject of discussions between Uhuru and retired president Daniel Moi before the latter’s demise.
Uhuru who considers the late Moi his mentor, visited the former head of state at Kabarak home in Nakuru or Kabarnet Gardens in Kibera where they discussed modalities of revamping Kanu and Gideon using it to climb to power.
Uhuru made all the visits without Ruto’s knowledge.
Insiders aver that in the meetings Moi would always remind Uhuru that Kanu was founded by his father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and other freedom fighters and has its roots in Mount Kenya region, who are its owners.
Uhuru, a one-time Kanu chairman, has a strong attachment to the party he used to contest for presidency in 2002 but lost to Mwai Kibaki of Narc.
Even when he formed The National Alliance, Uhuru retained the Kanu colours which was a strong signal of his attachment to the former ruling party.
Insiders add that the late Moi was so obsessed with Kanu’s revival that he ordered his aides not to allow those opposed to the idea to visit him when he was at his deathbed.
At one time Ruto who is opposed to Kanu’s revival was blocked from seeing ailing Moi at Kabarak, an incident that did not go down well with DP’s supporters who read a wider scheme to undermine him politically in favour of Gideon.
Ruto had been accompanied to Kabarak by Energy cabinet secretary Charles Keter, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and lawyer Stephen Kipkenda.
Insiders add that Kanu’s revival also featured prominently when Moi hosted Raila at his Kabarak residence twice.
During the May 2018 meeting, Moi reminded the ODM leader that his father, Jaramogi Odinga Oginga was a founder member of Kanu and Jaramogi and Kenyatta wooed Moi to abandon Kadu for the then ruling party Kanu.
Moi, a source revealed, told Raila that his dream of ruling Kenya after Uhuru would only materialise if he dissolved ODM to merge it with Kanu and also if he worked with his son, Gideon.
Raila was welcomed to Kabarak by Gideon and Kanu secretary general Nick.
During Moi’s burial, the former prime minister revealed that he had reconciled with Moi and even dissolved his National Development Party in 1999 to join Kanu.
Signals of possible Kanu, ODM merger emerged last week when Siaya governor Cornel Rasanga led delegates to meet Gideon at his Kabarak home.
The governor and his delegation delivered a truck full of goodies which included sacks of maize, a huge portrait of the dead Moi and a bull.
In his address the governor praised Gideon as a selfless and focused leader. Curiously, the delegates raised the one finger salute associated with Kanu while welcoming speakers to address them.
Gideon on his part lauded Uhuru and Raila for coming together and initiating the handshake, the outcome of which he said was unity and ensuring there was inclusivity.
Insiders add that Uhuru is now fueling the disintegration of Jubilee Party which was his vehicle for election in 2013 and 2017.
Jubilee was launched when 13 political parties dissolved in a historic move but the party has not held a single parliamentary group meeting since winning power.
During the launch the President unveiled a National Steering Committee co-chaired by then Senator and now Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi and former cabinet minister Noah Wekesa.
But problems at the ruling party began during the 2017 election primaries when a number of candidates blamed Ruto for their loss.
The political bigwigs who failed to secure the party’s ticket who included former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Peter Kenneth, former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando and former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, among others, blamed Ruto for their loss in the primaries, saying the deputy president rigged in his preferred candidates in his bid to firm up his 2022 presidential bid.
Some of the candidates went ahead to defend their seats as independents but lost to the Jubilee candidates.
But after the elections it was time for the president to act and he did not disappoint as he gave the losing candidates a political lifeline by appointing them to parastatal boards, a move that irked Ruto.
Those appointed to various boards trooped back to the Jubilee Party and upped their opposition to Ruto’s quest for presidency in 2022 by joining a grouping calling itself Kieleweke, which is opposed to the deputy president taking over from Uhuru in 2022.
Uhuru also kept mum as discontent grew in Jubilee where small parties that had folded started crying foul, saying the party’s high command did not respect the pledges they made to appoint their officials to senior government positions after the 2017 elections.
Notable complainants included former Tip Tip boss Kalembe Ndile.
Insiders add that Uhuru encouraged the emergence of Kieleweke and Tangatanga, the latter which backs Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, to add more fuel to the fire to cause more divisions in the ruling party and eventually its death.
To date, the party cannot hold a parliamentary group meeting as Tangatanga and Kieleweke groupings are likely to square it in front of the president and his deputy.
It was again Uhuru who frustrated Ruto’s bid to have Jubilee Party hold grassroots election.
Indeed, the DP and his supporters had a sigh of relief when the party announced it would hold grassroots elections in March this year.
Ruto had planned to use the elections to take full control of the party.
But the elections were called off over fears of a party implosion triggered by widening cracks over Uhuru succession politics.
Uhuru was again on the spotlight when in February, Jubilee announced that it would hold a parliamentary group meeting after the burial of the former president.
But that did not happen after Uhuru ordered the party secretary general Raphael Tuju to announce the postponement of the crisis meeting that was set to be held on February 14.
In a press release dated February 10 2020, Tuju indicated that the summit had been postponed to a later date to pave way for the country’s second president’s burial.
The summit had been decided upon on February 3 2020, after Uhuru held a meeting with Ruto before departing for the US.
The two leaders had agreed that Jubilee needed to meet and streamline issues that have split the party in two.
The meeting was to be the first formal gathering of Jubilee Party members since the hotly contested 2017 general elections.
But Tuju, who a few days later was involved in a grisly road accident, had explained that it was not a parliamentary group meeting but rather a consultative meeting since the president, who is the party leader, was not to chair it.
Insiders add that the meeting was called off after Kieleweke faction told Uhuru they feared it would be used to force them to back the DP.
Ruto, who is the deputy party leader, would have chaired the meeting.
But for now the party is under command of Ruto’s allies after Tuju was hospitalised. David Murathe had resigned as Jubilee Party’s interim vice-chairman, citing the conflict of interest in his bid to block Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
Murathe made the announcement explaining why he wants the DP to retire alongside the president in 2022.
He explained that it was no longer reasonable for him to attack Ruto as they both sit in the party’s NEC.
Murathe while speaking during the Building Bridges Initiative rally in Kinoru Stadium, Meru, added more fuel to the fire when he stated Uhuru will not hand over power to a thief, in reference to Ruto.
Following Tuju’s hospitalisation, the party’s daily activities are being overseen by deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany, a close ally of the deputy president.
Insiders add that Uhuru might go by the Kieleweke push for him to handpick new officials to nip in the bud the push by Ruto to take control of the outfit.
Ruto surprised the Kieleweke after he backed the interim officials led by Tuju to continue with their term for a further one year before elections are called.
Tuju was appointed to the position in March 2017 and together with all the other interim officials got into office on November 5 2016 after the party was formed from the merger of 12 political parties.
The interim officials were to serve for a term not exceeding three years from the date of appointment according to the party’s constitution.
Sources add that Uhuru has tactically endorsed calls by the Keileweke members for the removal of Tangatanga members for parliamentary committees, another move that will further kill the party.
In the national assembly the speaker Justin Muturi, deputy majority leader Jimmy Angwenyi and deputy chief whip Cecily Mbarire lean on the president’s side while majority leader Aden Duale, deputy speaker Moses Cheboi and chief whip Ben Washiali side with the DP.
In the senate, speaker Ken Lusaka, his deputy Kithure Kindiki, majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen and majority whip Susan Kihika lean on the DP’s side while deputy chief whip Irungu Kang’ata and deputy majority leader Fatuma Dullo lean on the president’s side.
With 34 senators, 10 of whom are nominated, the majority (18) must sit in a parliamentary group meeting whose minutes must be submitted to the speaker for verification before Murkomen, the majority leader, can be removed.
The death of Jubilee was recently broadcasted by Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria who claimed the party is dead and credited the collapse to Raila.
The outspoken Kuria serves as lawmaker for Gatundu South – Uhuru’s constituency – on a Jubilee Party ticket.
His sentiments came in the backdrop of discontent within the ruling party, which boasts a majority of legislators both in the national and senate assemblies.
For instance, there have been public exchanges between legislators allied to Uhuru and Ruto over the ongoing purge against corruption.
Insiders add that also on Uhuru’s table is a plot to make Raila one-term president in 2022 and then hand over the baton to Gideon in 2027.
The deal is informed by the fact that Raila, 75, will be 77 years old in 2022 and 82 years old in 2027, hence unlikely to defend the presidential seat due to his advanced age and failing health. Already, the vagaries of age are taking toll on Raila who could not address the Meru BBI meeting after he lost his voice in an embarrassing episode that saw the function end prematurely.
The ODM leader has also given his commitment to abide by the deal by not going for another term if he wins the presidential race in 2022.
If all goes well, the well-crafted deal will see Raila hand over power to Gideon in 2027, in accordance with late Moi’s wishes.
The deal, which has the blessings of Uhuru, will see Raila share power with regional kingpins who are currently driving the BBI.
And unlike the past memorandums of understanding – which include Raila/Kalonzo Musyoka 2013 and 2017 pacts, and Uhuru/Ruto 2013 and 2017 pacts – which were trashed after the polls, the new deal will have legal backing to make it binding to all the signatories.
It will be signed in the presence of Commissioner of Oaths and then deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties.
The deal will see the creation of the prime minister and two deputies as part of the executive.
The tentative line up has a Luo as president, Kalenjin deputy, Mount Kenya region prime minister, Coast region deputy prime minister and Western deputy prime minister.
The senate speaker will be reserved for the North Eastern region while the Mijikenda community will get the national assembly speaker.
In the deal the Kisii community will retain the powerful Internal Security docket same with Marsabit that will retain the Finance docket currently held by Ukur Yattani.
To sweeten the deal, the community in which the president comes from will have few appointments in parastatal board and other state agencies. The president’s community, unlike in the past, will not have a lion’s share of the juicy ministerial posts.
But the deal spares the judiciary, military and police from having political appointments. Wamalwa’s Bukusu numerical strength among Luhyas is working to his advantage, while Waiguru’s aim is to control the Kikuyu vote. Joho is to handle the coast equation.
Jubilee is now technically dead.Prior to the merger, the 13 parties held their national delegates’ conferences which endorsed the merger paving way for Uhuru and Ruto to use the party as their ticket for reelection.
Over 12,000 delegates trooped to Kasarani Stadium to endorse the merger and later the party unveiled a national steering committee co-chaired by then senator and now Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi and former cabinet minister Noah Wekesa.
The problems at the ruling party started during the 2017 election primaries when a number of candidates blamed Ruto for their loss.